Jul 8, 2012

Facing the sun/keeping cool

And there it is! Summer! The saying is summer doesn’t arrive in Seattle until 4th of July, and yes, most of the time that prognoses is very right. It’s like the overcast and the drizzle is blown away by the Star Spangled Banner and the fireworks on Lake Union, letting the sun and the mountains out for everyone finally to enjoy. Today 83°F (28°C), Monday 80° (27°), Tuesday 77°(25°), Wednesday 83°(28°), Thursday 78°(25,5°), Friday 75°(24°) and a big unobstructed sun! Oh how I love that sight!

And the saying in Umeå is that summer doesn’t arrive until after Midsummers. That’s often true too. At least if we are lucky. Some summers summer doesn’t really arrive. But this year it did warm up last week, even though the forecast doesn’t look like a Californian one.

Northern Sweden is struggling its long cold snowy winters. Seattle is fighting the rain and the very grey skies for nine months of the year. Yet, having spent quite a lot of time in Seattle since 1993 there is one thing I don’t understand.

When winter is loosing it’s grip and spring and summer awaken us, Swedes go crazy. Yes we do. We are going crazy for the sun. We are turning our faces to the south, throwing our clothes off, forgetting everything about skin cancer and melanoma because our craving for the sun is bigger then our fear of death. We just need the light and the warmth like an old car battery needs to be charged.

Seattleites on the other hand are cooler about the summer. They do appreciate it. The blue skies, the mountains coming out of the clouds like a forgotten Set Design; were they really there all this time? But I know that at the end of this upcoming week with temperatures in the eighties you will hear this phrase all around Seattle: “When will we be getting some relief?” Seattleites are very thorough about their sun block and would never chose to sit in the sun. They keep their doors shut to keep their houses cool and would you catch someone at a beach, it will sure be a tourist. And there are more sun glasses sold in Seattle then anywhere else in the entire US, would you believe that, the rainiest city in the country!

So what I can’t figure out is this: Yes, the northern Swedish winters are long and dark. But the Seattle winters are long and dark too. Those grey gloomy rainy months can really wear you out. Be as much as a dark sack as the Swedish winter. Yet it seems like the Seattleites don’t need the sun in the same way as Swedes do. So is it the cold? The cold itself that forces us to shut our doors to keep the heat in the house. That forces us to stay inside to be safe. Yes, it might very well be.

Anyway, for now it’s summer in both my cities and I am going to enjoy it! I’m going to sit outside, put some sunscreen on and turn my face and my starving body towards the sun, charging my battery and not waste any energy on cultural guessing games. And I will take my sun shades on and keep cool…

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